.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

 

AFP: Protest placard at new Crawford protest site - Aug. 20

.
Crawford peace protestAngela Russell, right, helps her brother Bradley Russell put on a protest placard at the new Iraq war protest site near the ranch of US President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas.
 
Protest leader Cindy Sheehan remains in California visiting her mother, who has had a stroke.
 
(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

 

Reuters: Iraq = Islamic Republic?

.
The Bush administration is so anxious to meet the Iraqi constitution deadline they are letting the Islamic clerics have their way on the role of Islam in the government.

The Article, "
U.S. concedes ground to Islamists on Iraqi law," says there's going to be a complete turn around from Islam being "a main source of Iraqi law" to "the main source of Iraqi law."

Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators all said there was accord on a bigger role for Islamic law than Iraq had before.


But a secular Kurdish politician said Kurds opposed making Islam "the," not "a," main source of law -- changing current wording -- and subjecting all legislation to a religious test. "We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi'ites," he said. "It's shocking. It doesn't fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state ... I can't believe that's what the Americans really want or what the American people want."

Washington, with 140,000 troops still in Iraq, has insisted Iraqis are free to govern themselves but made clear it will not approve the kind of clerical rule seen in Shi'ite Iran, a state President Bush describes as "evil."

Full Reuters news story.

The Bush administration just can't seem to get anything right when it comes to Iraq.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator
Lone_Star_Democrats

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Barhorst: Short and simple.

A lot of the rhetoric from the Republicans now-a-days can be winnowed down to a single simple phrase.

We are at war in Iraq, because we are at war in Iraq.

It is the very essence of a circular arguement, but it appears good enough for the Bush Administration to continue having our young people and Iraqis of all ages killed.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator Lone_Star_Democrats


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Friday, August 19, 2005

 

Reuters: Reid has mild stroke

Reid.
Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, right, visited a doctor earlier this week after feeling light-headed and learned he had suffered a mild stroke, his office said on Friday. In the above file photo, Reid (D-NV) speaks at AFL-CIO's annual convention in Chicago July 25, 2005.

(John Gress/Reuters)

 

AP: Edwards speaks to labor convention

.
Edwards
 
Former Sen. John Edwards,
D-N.C.,. speaks at the Iowa
Federation of Labor state
convention in Waterloo,
Iowa, Friday, Aug. 19,
2005.
 
(AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
 

 

Barhorst: The Airlines

.
I have just finished an article about Northwest Airlines Labor and financial problems, but I'm going to completely digress from the article because this itch I've got doesn't have anything to do with labor and management reliations.

Why don't the airlines just ground themselves 2 or 3 days a week until the price of oil comes down. Now, it wouldn't be all the airlines at once, but something like airline A flies mondays and wednesdays, B flies tuesdays and thursdays, C flies fridays and sundays. You know, something like odds and evens lawn watering during water shortages.

I doubt it would cost them that much, as many planes aren't full all the time anyway.

However, it would bring a lot of attention to the huge profits oil companies and speculators or making---without the windfall profits tax on oil profits we had the last time they pushed the price and profits.

Hell, it might even break through the bone GWB calls his brain.

Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Moderator
Lone_Star_Democrats

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

 

Novak: Dean unpatriotic to say women worse off in Iraq

.
DeanSuspended CNN correspondent Bob Novak has published a column accusing Democratic National Chair Howard Dean of being unpatriotic for saying women will be worse off under the new Iraq constitution than they were under Saddam Hussein.

Full Novak column.

 

AFP: Sheehan leaves camp to visit ill mom

.
Cindy Sheehan

CRAWFORD, United States (AFP) - Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son died in Iraq, said she was leaving the protest she has been leading against the conflict outside President George W. Bush's ranch for family reasons.

Sheehan said her mother had suffered a stroke and that she was leaving the anti-war protest outside Bush's ranch to visit her mother in California. "I'll be back as soon as possible," Sheehan, 48, told reporters.

"We have other Goldstar Mothers here and family members to speak out and they'll continue the mission while we're gone," Sheehan, who has become an icon for the US anti-war movement, said.

Sheehan has called the protest site here Camp Casey in honor of her late son who died serving with the US military in Iraq in April 2004. Up to 100 demonstrators have supported the demonstration.

Ann Wright, one of the organizers of the camp, said more than 500 people were expected to join the protest this weekend. Crowds outside the ranch swelled to almost double that number last weekend, including Bush supporters who faced off with the anti-war people.

Sheehan had said she would remain outside Bush' ranch until he agreed to meet with her so she could personally communicate her demand that the 138,000 American troops in Iraq be brought home.

"The president has said that he sympathizes with Ms Sheehan. He has met with her before," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday. "He appreciates the opportunities that he has to meet with families of the fallen and families that have men and women, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers that are serving in the war on terror. He's listened to the views of people like Ms Sheehan and he respects them, but he disagrees."

The US anti-war movement appears to be gaining momentum. Wednesday, more than 1,500 anti-war gatherings were staged around the country, including more than 100 people outside the White House.

Source:  AFP News.


 

Barhorst: Nothing To Do With Party

.
I'm begining to see signs that folks are forgetting party alignment when the subject is the Iraq war. If you don't mention "Our [their] Christian President," during the discussion they have a kind of personality change.

If there are no "die hard conservatives" around to physically or verbally frown at their words they'll actually begin to agree that the war is not being fought because of 9/11 or WMDs. They will attempt the "But, we can't pull out now, our boys have died," ploy. However, asking them if they recognize that statement's parallel with Vietnam, will bring some talking point equivocations that are easily squashed.

A followup statement such as, everyday our young people die to allow more, and then, more time, for a quickly written constitution that could easily make Iraq a Theocracy rather than a Democracy. (notice, there is no mention of Christian Cowboy Bush). Our Constitution took several years to write and then had to be amended, and we didn't even have violent religious differences. Usually brings a bit of a jaw drop. I've met very few "staunch Republicans" that knew this fact....but, to be fair, a lot of Democrats don't either.

I usually finalize with, Saddam is in jail, the infrastructure is a mess, the Iraqis are being killed quicker than our troops, and we don't know when it will be over-- not won, just over.

Terry D. Barhorst
Moderator Lone_Star_Democrats


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Richardson: thoughts on Brownwood peace vigil

.
By Sheila Richardson

While preparing for our vigil in support of Cindy Sheehan, I printed out page after page of the names of military dead from the war. My eye caught on "Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, Vacaville, Calif."

I touched his name and said, "Young man, look what you've done." I thought how proud he would be of his dear mother's efforts in his name.

At the vigil we held here in Brownwood, Texas, a friend told me that as we sat in silence, holding our candles, she saw in her mind's eye the long road to the president's ranch. It was lined with the ghosts of our fallen sons and daughters, innocent Iraqi men, women and children, the wounded and the maimed. She said they stood among the living there to give voice to Peace.

Each of us left last night, feeling like we took part in something honest -- something that was so much bigger than Red and Blue.

Sheila Richardson

14505 CR 478

May, TX 76857

(254) 842-5830

sheilar254@yahoo.com


 

Haigler: Why some Bush neighbors are irritated

.
By Dave Haigler - Abilene, Texas
 
As one who's been out to Camp Casey near the Bush ranch several times and spent some time there, I would note that the porta-potties, below right, which the media implied were Pettit entering porta-pottyplaced on the road going past the ranch of Mr. Mattlage (who fired the shotgun into the air Sunday) are not even on that road.  The camp is located at a triangle of three converging roads, the southern leg of which goes down to a "dead end" (sign below left) where the porta-potties are located.  Those are at least 200-300 yards from Mr. Mattlage.  These are not even visible from his property, which is northwest of the camp.  Nor is there any scent.  Bush's ranch reportedly used to be a pig farm.  Mattlage has been there long enough to remember the smell of that. 
 
Dead-end signWhat is these neighbors' real beef?  They all have fences in front of their property, on the edge of the road right of way.  There is about 8-12 feet of "ditch" from the road to the fences.  That's where the protestors are -- in the ditches.  They are not trespassing on anyone's private property. 
 
As the county commissioner said in his interview yesterday on CNN, which I blogged at
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/ap-cnn-haigler-confrontations-over.html -- the authorities are making sure the parked cars are not on the pavement. 
 
Apparently these "ranchers" -- such as they are -- some of them, like Bush, don't even run cattle or sheep or goats on their property -- are used to breezing down these narrow winding roads at 50 MPH.  It's not safe to do that when there are cars parked on both sides of the road and people milling around and crossing the roads. 
 
I watched one irritated neighbor on this past Tuesday honk her horn and force a TV reporter from an Austin station to stop his interview videotaping and move off the road so she could get by in her SUV.  There is simply no sense of pedestrians having the right of way on Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, Texas.  Pedestrians have about as much rights in Crawford as native homeowners in Fallujah to marauding marines. 
So the irritation of the ranchers comes from having people there and having to slow down a little to avoid hitting pedestrians walking across the road.  And it's not even primarily the protestors, who are briefed by the coordinators to stay off the roads and are constantly warned, "here comes a CNN next to Mattlage ranchcar, get out of the way."  It's also media representatives (such as CNN's crew at 9 am yesterday, shown at right, adjacent to Mr. Mattlage's ranch), who have to get just the right angle and just the right lighting and just the right backdrop to their video shots, and they stand in the road if they need to.

It is the peace protestors who are being the good neighbors here, not some of the neighbors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

 

AP: Lott blames fellow Republicans for downfall

.
By David Espo -
Published: Aug 17, 2005 - 10:36 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, below left, blames his fall from power in 2002 on a "personal betrayal" by an ambitious Sen. Bill Frist, his successor, adding in a new book that President Bush, Colin Powell and other GOP associates played roles.

Sen. LottFrist, R-Tenn., "didn't even have the courtesy to call and tell me personally that he was going to run," the Mississippi Republican wrote of a tumultuous period in which he lost his position as Senate leader after making racially tinged remarks.

He said Frist's actions amounted to a "personal betrayal," since he had taken the Tennessean "under my wing" in earlier years.

"If Frist had not announced exactly when he did, as the fire was about to burn out, I would still be majority leader of the Senate today," Lott said in "Herding Cats, A Life in Politics."

A spokeswoman for Frist, Amy Call, said the senator "hasn't read the book, so he can't comment directly, but he always appreciates Senator Lott's advice."

In the book, Lott described an unusual partnership with President Clinton that worked to the detriment of 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole; praised former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota as trustworthy; and recalled that Vice President Gerald R. Ford personally cautioned him "not to go so far out on a limb" in defending President Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

Republicans lost their thin majority in 2001 when Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to become an independent. "I had raised money for Jeffords; in 2000, I had even campaigned for him in Vermont. Six months later, this was the way he repaid me," Lott wrote.

"He'd always had a habit of bartering his crucial vote on legislation for his own pet projects," Lott said. Lott said that Jeffords once demanded $1 billion for a child health program and also sought provisions to help Vermont's dairy industry.

Lott's final fall from power was triggered when he said at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday that the country "wouldn't have had all these problems over the years" if it had elected Thurmond president in 1948.

The remarks directed to the one-time segregationist were delivered off the cuff, Lott wrote, saying he often kidded Thurmond, R-S.C., by telling him he would have made a great president.

The uproar was slow to build. But, Lott wrote, by the time it was over, former Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma had helped bring him down, and he recalled a tense conversation with Sen. George Allen of Virginia, who told him to resign for the good of the party.

"'I'm not going to do it,' I yelled back at him. 'I'm not going to do it and I'm very disappointed by your call," Lott wrote.

Bush "struck at me," Lott wrote, when he said that Lott 'has apologized and rightly so."

Lott added, "I couldn't argue with the words he chose. But the tone he employed was devastating ... booming and nasty."

Powell, who was secretary of state at the time, called in reporters to deplore Thurmond's Dixiecrat campaign of 1948. "I couldn't understand it. I'd worked with him enough over the years that he should have known I wasn't a racist," Lott wrote.

Source:  AP Breaking News.


 

Barhorst: And The Crosses March Along

.
They die while Bush is on vacation,
Out of service in the meantime.
They die for a prevarication,
What worth are our children's lifetime?

And the crosses march along,
Crying their silent song.

They're Casey and his generation.
Lost to the children of the next.
Some say they die for our nation.
But, that's political pretext.

And the crosses march along,
Crying their silent song.

All fear the sorrowed doorbell's ring,
and for our children's lives please pray.
God or Allah, We know He's crying.
For those who die at war today.

And the crosses march along,
Crying their silent song.


-Terry D. Barhorst Sr., Moderator
Lone_Star_Democrats


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AP-CNN-Haigler: Confrontations over vandalism & parking with peace protestors in Crawford

.
confrontation over damaged crossesCrawford, Tx, Aug. 17 - McLennan County Texas Sheriff's deputies yesterday approached anti-war protesters surrounding Rowena Jhant, center in blue shirt, during a disagreement about her restoring crosses that had been vandalized the night before by a pickup truck along the road leading to President Bush's ranch, in Crawford.
 
Jhant, who disagrees with the anti-war protesters led by 'peace mom' Cindy Sheehan, said she did not feel it was right to drive by and leave the American flags and crosses on the ground without trying to help repair the destruction.  The protesters objected to Jhant meddling and helping with the restoration of their crosses & flags. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
 
CNN TV news reported at 6:40 a.m. today that the McClennan County Commissioner threatened to tow CNN's truck during their interview, because one of its wheels was parked on Prairie Chapel Road near the Sheehan protest site.  CNN asked him to wait until the interview was completed.  CNN reported that Sheehan's Camp Casey was planning to move to private property closer to President Bush's ranch later today.
 
-Dave Haigler, Taylor County Democratic Chair, Abilene, Texas
reporting from Crawford, Texas
 

 

Haigler: Vets for Peace support Sheehan

.
Veterans for Peace
by Dave Haigler, left, holding banner

Crawford, Texas, Aug. 17 - Veterans for Peace, a U.S. 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is supporting Cindy Sheehan and Gold Star Families for Truth at the Crawford Peace House and "Camp Casey," the makeshift gathering of peace protestors on Prairie Chapel Road near President Bush's ranch 8 miles northwest of Crawford.

Veterans for Peace and other peace groups provided the backdrop for Sheehan as she was interviewed by CNN TV yesterday evening.

 

Sheehan: Answers to critics

.

By Cindy Sheehan, right

SheehanPutting out Fires - Day 10

The right wingers are really having a field day with me. It hurts me really badly, but I am willing to put up with the crap, if it ends the war a minute sooner than it would have. I would like to address some specific concerns that have been raised against me.

The first one is about my divorce. I addressed this on my blog the other night. My divorce was in the works way before I came out to Crawford. My husband filed the papers before this all started. It just recorded last Friday. My husband didn't know that it would become public record, and public knowledge. He had told his lawyer not to serve me with the paperwork or even bother me while I was at Camp Casey. He was trying to do the right thing. He didn't want me to find out. Enough about that.

Another "big deal" today was the lie that I had said that Casey died for Israel. I never said that, I never wrote that. I had supposedly said it in a letter that I wrote to Ted Koppel's producer in March. I wrote the letter because I was upset at the way Ted treated me when I appeared at a Nightline Town Hall meeting in January right after the inauguration. I felt that Ted had totally disrespected me. I wrote the letter to Ted Bettag and cc'd a copy to the person who gave me Ted's address. I believe he (the person who gave me the address) changed the email and sent it out to capitalize on my new found notoriety by promoting his own agenda. Enough about that.

I didn't blog about the cross incident last night. I was at the Peace House  when there was a big commotion and people started saying that someone had run over our Arlington Crawford display. I know this is old news because I have seen great posts about it today. This is how I feel. The right wingers are emailing me and spewing filth about me on the radio and on the television saying that I am dishonoring my son's memory. This man who ran over the crosses thinks he is a better American than we are. He thinks [he is] more patriotic than we are. Does he really believe that he is honoring the memories of the fallen and his country by running down 500 crosses and about 60 American flags? The Iraq Veterans Against the War who were here were also very offended. Those crosses represented their buddies who didn't make it home. And they are so aware of the fact that one of those crosses could have their name on it.

Yesterday, we had a counter protestor who played his guitar across the way from us and sang (very terribly!!!) a song that loosely went like this:

    Aiding and abetting the enemy.
    How many ghosts did you make today?
    Google me this, Google me that,
    How many ghosts did you make today?

I find it so ironic that he was singing it to me, and not to George Bush. We named the song: The Ballad of George Bush. He came back out today, but blessed be to God, he didn't bring his guitar, and he didn't sing.

We are moving to a place that doesn't have much shade and I put out an appeal for tarps and a soldier from Ft. Hood brought some to us that he "borrowed" from Ft. Hood for us to use. I have had a lot of soldiers from Ft. Hood come out and tell me to keep it up and that I am doing a good thing. We are doing this to honor Casey and the other fallen heroes in their memories. But we are doing it FOR the people of Iraq and the other soldiers who are in harm's way right now. Right after we heard about the crosses last night, a Camp Casey volunteer found out that a pen pal she had in Iraq was KIA on August 12th. This has to stop, now. We will stop it.

Source:  Sheehan's blog on Daily Kos.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 

Haigler: Cindy reads DemLog - Aug. 16

.
Cindy reading DemLogCrawford, Texas, Aug. 16 - Cindy Sheehan, to the right of the picture at left, is shown reading the DemLog blog, at 6:24 p.m. today just as she received a personal phone call and a TV photographer from an Austin TV station tried to videotape her private conversation.

 

Haigler & Pettit visit Crawford Peace House - Aug. 16

.
John Pettit and I are blogging from The Crawford Peace House where we are with Cindy Sheehan, of Gold Star Families for Truth.
 
Cindy being interviewedCindy, right, did several media interviews today, ending with a CNN interview with 50 or so of us volunteer/visitors as a backdrop.
 
One paparazi from an Austin TV station tried to videotape a private cell-phone conversation, sticking the camera in her face within 3-4 feet.  She asked him several times to leave her alone.  A female friend tried to block him, but he evaded her.  The friend asked my help, so I blocked him, taking a basketball defensive stance.  He tried repeatedly to get around me.  He became verbally abusive, saying he had as much right to be here as I did.  I said that Cindy was trying to take a phone call and we needed to respect her privacy.
 
He said, "You're beginning to piss me off." 
 
I asked him to remain 20 feet away.  He refused.  I said I could call 911.  He said I should.
 
So I did.  Once I was on with the dispatcher, the parparazi retreated.  Cindy's scheduler asked me to cancel the call, but it was too late, as they were online, and I remembered something about it being illegal to hang up on 911. 
 
The scheduler said there was an orientation briefing later for new visitors on the protocols for calling 911 and so forth.  I apologized for not knowing the proper procedure.
 
And that was that.
 
-Dave Haigler,
Taylor County Democratic Chair
Abilene, Tx

 

Recap of Crawford peace protest stories

.
Aug. 16:



* Barhorst: Desecration in Crawford -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/barhorst-desecration-in-crawford.html



Aug. 15:


* Sentinel: Protest benefits Crawford Peace House -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/sentinel-protest-benefits-crawford.html

* Hitchens: Sheehan is out of order -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/hitchens-sheehan-is-out-of-order.html

* Bill Spier: Musings on Cindy Sheehan -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/bill-spier-musings-on-cindy-sheehan.html


Aug. 14:


pro-Bush parent hugs Cindy* AP: Pro-Bush grieving dad hugs Cindy -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/ap-pro-bush-grieving-dad-hugs-cindy.html


* AP: Normal Life Over for Protesting Mother -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/ap-normal-life-over-for-protesting.html


* NYT-Rich: Someone Tell the President the War Is Over -
http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/nyt-rich-someone-tell-president-war-is.html


* Haigler defends Sheehan from sexist blog as Cindy responds to shooting - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/haigler-defends-sheehan-from-sexist.html

Crawford rancher

* AP: Crawford rancher fires shotgun during protestors' prayer service - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/ap-crawford-rancher-fires-shotgun.html


* Friedberg: It's about grief, not Cindy Sheehan - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/friedberg-its-about-grief-not-cindy.html



Cindy Sheehan speaks to crowd* Tarasoff: Crowds grow at Camp Casey - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/tarasoff-crowds-grow-at-camp-casey.html


Aug. 13:


* Alice: Some details of Bush's motorcade....... - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/alice-some-details-of-bushs-motorcade.html



Cindy Sheehan holding Casey Sheehan cross as Bush motorcade passes Aug 12* Haigler defends Sheehan on Daily Kos - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/haigler-defends-sheehan-on-daily-kos.html


Aug. 12:


* Haigler & Spier visit Sheehan in Crawford - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/haigler-spier-visit-sheehan-in.html


* Slate-Papers: Bush-No Premature Evacuation - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/slate-papers-bush-no-premature.html


Aug. 11:


* MMfA: Drudge & Fox News malign protesting mom - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/mmfa-drudge-fox-news-malign-protesting.html


Dowd* NYT-Dowd: Why No Tea and Sympathy? - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/nyt-dowd-why-no-tea-and-sympathy.html


Aug. 6:


* AP: Only a minority think Bush honest - http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/08/ap-only-minority-think-bush-honest.html


-posted by Dave Haigler, Taylor County Democratic Chair, Abilene, Texas

 

Barhorst: Desecration in Crawford

.
They announced on the early news that some redneck Republican desecrated the Cross and Flag memorial to the fallen of the Iraq war. A man in a pickup trailing a chain and pipe swerved off the road and into the field of memorials destroying or damaging most of the crosses and flags. Police found bits of flags and crosses caught up in the chassis of the pickup when they caught up and stopped the Bush Supporter.

Ms. Sheehan was not at the site at the time of the desecration.

-Terry D. Barhorst
Moderator, Lone_Star_Democrats


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Monday, August 15, 2005

 

Sentinel: Protest benefits Crawford Peace House

.
by Michael Fletcher
 

CRAWFORD, Texas - Several hundred war protesters converged on Crawford during the weekend. They think Cindy Sheehan, a 48-year-old mother from Vacaville, Calif., whose son was killed in Iraq last year, has ignited a struggling peace movement with her quiet, but defiant protest.

More than 150 flag-waving marchers made their way toward Sheehan's camp to show their support for the war. Also, a lone demonstrator drove a pickup blaring country music with a large American flag flying from its bed. A sign on his door read: "Texas Is Bush Country."

"It's just a miracle what's going on here," said Bill Mitchell, who lost his son, Michael, in Iraq on April 4, 2004 -- the same day Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed. Along with Sheehan, he has protested the war for more than a year.

Crawford Peace HouseAt the Peace House, a small wood-frame cottage shown at right (picture courtesy Robert Nall Adams), things were humming. Before Sheehan's arrival, the house, established in 2003 by Dallas peace activists, had $121 in the bank and its phone cut off because of overdue bills. But once word of Sheehan's protest took flight, money began to flow in. In one week, the house has amassed enough money to pay off its $40,000 mortgage.

"I've been walking around with my mouth open and in a daze for the past two or three days," said Kay Lucas, Peace House director. "It's a blessing, a miracle. It's like the parable of the loaves and the fishes."

Full story -  Orlando Sentinel (Florida).


 

Hitchens: Sheehan is out of order

.
Christopher Hitchens has an op-ed in Slate Magazine saying that although Cindy Sheehan, left, may have a constitutional right to present the Sheehangovernment with a petition for redress of grievances, the president does not have to listen to her, and that she's gotten all the condolences she's entitled to from the president and is thus now out of order in pursuing him. 
 
The perhaps-tight logic of this piece overlooks the fact that the increasing displeasure with the Iraq war among the American public has found a point of contact in the engaging Mrs. Sheehan.  We like her and sympathize with her and her cause, whether she's being entirely logical or not.  And our feeling that this war -- born of lies and masked motivations -- has no reasonable hope of success is growing to a roar that cannot be ignored.
 
-Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Public Anxiety Over Bush's Handling of Economy Overshadows Good News

.
An AP News Analysis

-
WASHINGTON (AP) - The war in Iraq and the soaring price of gasoline Bushare drowning out a succession of positive reports on the economy, putting President Bush, right, on the defensive at a time when he could be basking in good economic news.

Despite months of economic growth, tame inflation, resurgent job growth and an unemployment rate near a four-year low, public approval of Bush's handling of the economy is at the lowest levels of his presidency.

That has left his supporters perplexed over why Bush hasn't gotten more credit for the improving economy.

But analysts suggest a host of reasons - including anxiety over terrorism and the Iraq war, soaring gasoline prices and high levels of mortgage debt in an environment of increasing interest rates.

Full AP Breaking News story.


 

Bill Spier: Musings on Cindy Sheehan

.
Bill SpierBy Bill Spier, Ph.D., left

An early afternoon posting on the Daily KOS (Sunday August 14,2005, 13:24:51 PDT) by blogger "Armando," (http://www.dailykos.com/) quotes Dr. Mark Feldman's (http://www.frameshopisopen.com/) take on the apparent success of Cindy Sheehan's dogging of the president. Feldman writes:

"Rather than extending America's focus on Presidential lies, the meteoric rise of Cindy Sheehan to the top of the headlines shifted our attention to a 'grieving mother.' Curiously, this shift seems to have happened despite the fact that Sheehan's personal writings and public statements tried to intensify the national focus on the President's lies and refusal to meet with her. So what is the bottom line of the Sheehan protest? What did the Sheehan week achieve? In broad terms, the success of the 'grieving mom' phrase indicates that Americans are now thinking about the War in Iraq through the frame of the family, rather than thinking about Iraq through the frame of 'terrorism' or 'ideology'."

Armando thinks, and I concur, that with no visible anti-war movement, which is a massing of aggrieved individuals into a loose and geographically broad protest, the focus on the aggrieved families of dead and wounded servicemen and servicewomen may resonate broadly. Iraq is not about democracy, women's rights or whatnot; it is about theft and death. Cindy and her close supporters know this and will definitely move the theatre of operations to Washington in September.

Perhaps Cindy's way is the most effective way to stop the insanity of the bloody incursion into Iraq. Messages from the military advise withdrawal -- even though George Bush says we will stay the course. His elitist delusions resonate elsewhere in our history. Social historian George Rawick in his fine monograph The American Slave; From Sundown to Sun up said that when a ruling class is past its creative period it becomes deluded as to its importance. At the time (1972), he was comparing the southern plantation class delusions to U.S. justification for war with the Vietnamese. It is reported that George Bush knew not the difference between Sunni and Shiite Islamic teachings before ordering an attack on a defenseless Iraq. It is also said that the Vietnamese did not have a word for "I" in their vocabulary before the French arrived in Siam. If there is one thing the Judeo-Christian west should not do it is: pick a fight with folks who have a short memory of the word "I" in their language. LBJ (and Nixon) may not have known this Vietnamese "I" thing, but they did fret over their horrendous miscalculations. George Bush, however, goes to the Prairie Chapel Ranch on vacation; and Cindy Sheehan, a deeply engaging and articulate mother, brings her grief, questions, and message to the dusty mesquite patch where he hides. She is telling him that his hideous mistake is over and he must accept it.

And where are our 21st century Wayne Morse, Ernest Gruening, Al Gore Sr., Pete McClosky, Gene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy when we need them now?

Anyone who is not moved by Cindy Sheehan’s sacrifices has lost their soul. I believe that many people in this nation are in crisis and must go through self analysis (that the radical right would find tantamount to civil disobedience). Cindy Sheehan, like the Reverend King, is forcing Americans to chose sides and think deeper about our national predicament. And national failings reflect deeper community and individual crises.

William Spier, Ph.D., New York - wspier@nyc.rr.com


 

CNN: Religious rally attacks 'arrogant' judges

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House Majority Leader Tom Delay, below right, among the speakers


Tom DeLay-Justice Sunday IISunday, August 14, 2005; Posted: 10:26 p.m. EDT (02:26 GMT)

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- America's most powerful judges are "unelected, unaccountable and arrogant," Focus on the Family founder James Dobson told the thousands of people who packed a Nashville church for "Justice Sunday II," a rally televised for broadcast to churches across the country.

[Speaking of arrogance, Dr. Dobson issued a statement Jan. 2, 2005, threatening 6 "red-state" senators with defeat in 2006 if they failed to support all of President Bush's "strict constructionist" judges. See Dobson's biographical information and past political activity in the Jan. 8 issue of the Abi-Demian. Also see my critique of the fallacies of "Strict Constructionism" in that same Abi-Demian issue. -D.H.]

Two Rivers Baptist Church-NashvilleThe goal of the rally at Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church, left, was to educate evangelical Christians about the U.S. Supreme Court and get them talking to friends and elected officials about what they want from the justices, said organizer Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Kim Dell'Agnese of Nashville, below right, picks up a Save The Court Kit at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Kim Dell'AgneseTennessee, August 14, 2005. The kit is to help her understand some of the issues discussed during 'Justice Sunday'. Christian conservative leaders used the 'Justice Sunday' rally to criticize activist judges but chose not to endorse U.S. President George W. Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, John Roberts. (M. J. Masotti, Jr./Reuters)

Many of the speeches targeted the Supreme Court's power and what the writers of the Constitution intended the justices' role to be.

"All wisdom does not reside in nine persons in black robes," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told the crowd. "The Constitution is clear on the point that the power to make laws is vested on Congress."

The president of The Catholic League, Bill Donahue, suggested a constitutional amendment to say that "unless a judicial vote is unanimous, you cannot overturn a law created by Congress." [Ironically, as Media Matters for America and a NY Times op-ed piece have shown, it is the "conservative" justices appointed by Republican presidents who vote to overturn acts of Congress up to twice as often as the so-called "liberal" justices. -D.H.]

The court is trying to "take the hearts and souls of our culture," Donahue said.

Dr. DobsonDr. Dobson, left, evoked the framers of the Constitution, saying: "These activist, unelected judges believe they know better than the American people about the direction the country should go. The framers of our great nation did not intend for the courts to have absolute and final power over us." [At the end of March, FOX News reported the radical right were complaining that the courts were not activist enough when they refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case. -D.H.]

Protests

Protesters were also vocal Sunday, both outside Two Rivers Baptist Church, where the rally was held, and across town, where a group of religious leaders held a separate event to counter what they saw as an extremist message.

"This is so Americans can see the 'Justice Sunday' sponsors and Tom DeLay don't have any exclusive hold on religion," said Glenn Smith, an organizer of "Community of Faith and Unity Gathering."

Rita Nakashima Brock, founder of Faith Voices for the Common Good, said "Justice Sunday II" was calling for a theocracy instead of democracy.

"Those people meeting with Tom DeLay, Chuck Colson and Jim Dobson think they own the Bible and that God speaks only to them," Brock said.

Frist absent

The first "Justice Sunday" event, held in April at a church in Louisville, Kentucky, had been aimed at stopping a potential filibuster of several nominees for the federal bench.

One of the speakers at that event, Senate Majority Leader Bill Sen. FristFrist, right, had threatened to try to change Senate rules to prevent certain filibusters if Democrats persisted, a move applauded by the rally organizers. Weeks later, 14 Senate Republicans and Democrats forged a compromise. Some conservatives accused Frist of allowing it to happen.

"There will be repercussions," Perkins said at the time.

Frist, a surgeon, wasn't invited to address "Justice Sunday II" because he angered the events' organizers by voicing his support for expanded human embryonic stem cell research. (Full story)

At the rally Sunday, Mike Miller, 54, of Gallatin echoed many of the speakers comments on judicial power, saying he believes Supreme Court justices try to create laws with their rulings instead of interpreting the Constitution.

"Activist justices -- we're trying to find out what we can do to stop that activity," he said. "Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments."

Source: AP story from CNN.

D.H.: As I've stated in an op-ed piece, "Constitutionalism or Chaos?", so-called "Strict Constructionism" or "Constitutionalism's" leading advocate is the right-wing Eagle Forum's "Court Watch" project. The "Court Watch" newsletter, "2005: Look Down to Look Ahead," says the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have no business authoritatively stating what the constitution means. (The constitution is the supreme law of the land with no court interpretation equal to it, and courts cannot go beyond its basic meaning, according to Court Watch's "Constitutionalist Manifesto.") It is difficult to overstate how radical this view is, and how out of line it is with our legal heritage. The radical right's agenda is nothing less than trying to undermine the 3-part separation of powers given to us by our Founding Fathers. They would gut our court system in an attempt to reverse Roe v. Wade at all cost.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

 

AP: Pro-Bush grieving dad hugs Cindy

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pro-Bush parent hugs CindyCindy Sheehan, right, and President Bush supporter Gary Qualls of Temple, Texas hug at her camp near Crawford, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2005.
 
Qualls' son Marine LCPL. Louis W. Qualls was killed in the battle of Fallujah Nov. 14, 2004.
 
Qualls answered an invitation from Sheehan to meet with pro-Bush parents that lost children in Iraq. Qualls was the only parent that came.
 
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

 

AP: Normal Life Over for Protesting Mother

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By MARTHA MENDOZA, AP National Writer Sun Aug 14

VACAVILLE, Calif. - Before her son was killed in Iraq before she began a peace vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch, before she became an icon of the anti-war movement and the face of grieving mothers, there was a time when Cindy Sheehan's life was, by all appearances, incredibly normal.

SheehanSheehan (left, grieving over a poem about fallen soldiers) grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, and married her high school sweetheart, Patrick Sheehan. They had four babies, one almost every other year. They drove their growing clan in a huge, yellow station wagon nicknamed the "BananaMobile." She volunteered at a Vacaville church and later, as the children grew, she worked there.

Normal life ended for Cindy Sheehan in April 2004, when her oldest son Casey, 24, a father of twin girls, was killed in Iraq.

First, she says, "I was a Mom in deep shock and deep grief."

Then, two months later, came what she considered to be a disturbingly placid meeting with President Bush. While she found him to be a "man of faith," she also said later that he seemed "totally disconnected from humanity and reality." And when she later heard him speak of soldiers' deaths as "noble," Sheehan felt she had to do something.

"The shock has worn off and deep anger has set in," she said.

Sheehan co-founded an anti-war organization and began talking, demonstrating, speaking at a congressional hearing. She got a Web site, a public relations assistant (financed by an anti-war group), an entourage of peace activists and a speaking tour.

But while her message was strong and widely disseminated, she didn't become world famous until about a week ago when, after speaking at the annual Veterans For Peace national conference in Dallas, she took a bus to Crawford, Texas, site of Bush's ranch, to have a word with her president.

For the record, here's what she said she wants to tell him: "I would say, 'What is the noble cause my son died for?' And I would say if the cause is so noble has he encouraged his daughters to enlist? And I would be asking him to quit using Casey's sacrifice to justify continued killing, and to use Casey's sacrifice to promote peace."

Sheehan's peaceful vigil, her unstoppable anguish, her gentle way of speaking, have captured attention for an anti-war movement that until now hasn't had much of a leader. Over the past week she appeared on every major television and radio network and in newspapers around the world.

Critics have started calling her a pawn of the left-wing. Some conservative organizations, talk show hosts and even some of her own extended family accuse her of shifting her position and say she is lowering troop morale.

"To be perfectly honest, I think it is disgraceful," said bookkeeper Diana Kraft of Vacaville, whose son is in the Navy. "I don't know the loss she's feeling to lose a son because, thank goodness, I haven't had that, but we're in this war and we have to support the troops."

Other friends, neighbors and church members argue that she is a hero, and say they're proud of what she's doing.

Dozens of people have joined her and others have sent flowers and food. Other "Camp Casey" demonstrations and vigils are springing up around the country, with signs calling on Bush to "Talk To Cindy." Activists in San Francisco rallied on her behalf Friday; others planned to gather Monday in New York's Union Square.

Tensions flared Saturday at the protest site outside Bush's ranch, with one heated exchange between a Bush supporter and a veteran who opposes the war in Iraq. When the veteran shouted about his war experiences and yelled, "I earned the right to be here!" several of his fellow protesters pulled him away as he sobbed and his knees buckled.

Bush acknowledged Sheehan on Thursday, telling reporters at his ranch that "she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position."

But Bush said Sheehan is wrong on Iraq: "I thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is: Get out of Iraq now. And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so."

Sheehan, a lifelong Democrat, said that until her son died, she'd never spoken out about her views. She was too young during the Vietnam War — "I only saw it on the news and I thought it was horrible," she said. She didn't agree with the first Gulf War, but only talked about it with friends and classmates.

As a child in Bellflower, about 20 miles south of Los Angeles, Sheehan was opinionated, but not outspoken, says her sister, Dede Miller. She was enrolled in programs for gifted students.

She married her first serious boyfriend, Patrick, whom she met when she was 17. They soon had Casey, followed by Carly, Andy and Jane.

"She was an earth mother, a very devoted mom," said Miller.

In 1993, the family moved to Vacaville, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, where Patrick worked as a sales representative.

The stress of Casey's death prompted Sheehan and her husband to separate, she said.

Sheehan has vowed to remain in Texas through Bush's August vacation, unless he meets with her.

"My whole family would rather I was home more than gone," she said. "Some people have tried to discourage me from doing what I'm doing but I can't be discouraged, I can't be stopped because I know what I'm doing is so important. It's a matter of life or death."

Associated Press Writers Lisa Leff in San Francisco and Angela K. Brown in Crawford, Texas contributed to this story.  Source:  Associated Press.


 

NYT-Rich: Someone Tell the President the War Is Over

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Frank RichLIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.

But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)

As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's über-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

That battle crashed past the tipping point this month in Ohio. There's historical symmetry in that. It was in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, that Mr. Bush gave the fateful address that sped Congressional ratification of the war just days later. The speech was a miasma of self-delusion, half-truths and hype. The president said that "we know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade," an exaggeration based on evidence that the Senate Intelligence Committee would later find far from conclusive. He said that Saddam "could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year" were he able to secure "an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball." Our own National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1 quoted State Department findings that claims of Iraqi pursuit of uranium in Africa were "highly dubious."

It was on these false premises - that Iraq was both a collaborator on 9/11 and about to inflict mushroom clouds on America - that honorable and brave young Americans were sent off to fight. Among them were the 19 marine reservists from a single suburban Cleveland battalion slaughtered in just three days at the start of this month. As they perished, another Ohio marine reservist who had served in Iraq came close to winning a Congressional election in southern Ohio. Paul Hackett, a Democrat who called the president a "chicken hawk," received 48 percent of the vote in exactly the kind of bedrock conservative Ohio district that decided the 2004 election for Mr. Bush.

These are the tea leaves that all Republicans, not just Chuck Hagel, are reading now. Newt Gingrich called the Hackett near-victory "a wake-up call." The resolutely pro-war New York Post editorial page begged Mr. Bush (to no avail) to "show some leadership" by showing up in Ohio to salute the fallen and their families. A Bush loyalist, Senator George Allen of Virginia, instructed the president to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the mother camping out in Crawford, as "a matter of courtesy and decency." Or, to translate his Washingtonese, as a matter of politics. Only someone as adrift from reality as Mr. Bush would need to be told that a vacationing president can't win a standoff with a grief-stricken parent commandeering TV cameras and the blogosphere 24/7.

Such political imperatives are rapidly bringing about the war's end. That's inevitable for a war of choice, not necessity, that was conceived in politics from the start. Iraq was a Bush administration idée fixe before there was a 9/11. Within hours of that horrible trauma, according to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies," Mr. Rumsfeld was proposing Iraq as a battlefield, not because the enemy that attacked America was there, but because it offered "better targets" than the shadowy terrorist redoubts of Afghanistan. It was easier to take out Saddam - and burnish Mr. Bush's credentials as a slam-dunk "war president," suitable for a "Top Gun" victory jig - than to shut down Al Qaeda and smoke out its leader "dead or alive." But just as politics are a bad motive for choosing a war, so they can be a doomed engine for running a war. In an interview with Tim Russert early last year, Mr. Bush said, "The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me, as I look back, was it was a political war," adding that the "essential" lesson he learned from Vietnam was to not have "politicians making military decisions." But by then Mr. Bush had disastrously ignored that very lesson; he had let Mr. Rumsfeld publicly rebuke the Army's chief of staff, Eric Shinseki, after the general dared tell the truth: that several hundred thousand troops would be required to secure Iraq. To this day it's our failure to provide that security that has turned the country into the terrorist haven it hadn't been before 9/11 - "the central front in the war on terror," as Mr. Bush keeps reminding us, as if that might make us forget he's the one who recklessly created it.

The endgame for American involvement in Iraq will be of a piece with the rest of this sorry history. "It makes no sense for the commander in chief to put out a timetable" for withdrawal, Mr. Bush declared on the same day that 14 of those Ohio troops were killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha. But even as he spoke, the war's actual commander, Gen. George Casey, had already publicly set a timetable for "some fairly substantial reductions" to start next spring. Officially this calendar is tied to the next round of Iraqi elections, but it's quite another election this administration has in mind. The priority now is less to save Jessica Lynch (or Iraqi democracy) than to save Rick Santorum and every other endangered Republican facing voters in November 2006.

Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America: not a shotgun constitution rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline, not another Iraqi election, not higher terrorist body counts, not another battle for Falluja (where insurgents may again regroup, The Los Angeles Times reported last week). A citizenry that was asked to accept tax cuts, not sacrifice, at the war's inception is hardly in the mood to start sacrificing now. There will be neither the volunteers nor the money required to field the wholesale additional American troops that might bolster the security situation in Iraq.

WHAT lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam: some kind of negotiations (in this case, with Sunni elements of the insurgency), followed by more inflated claims about the readiness of the local troops-in-training, whom we'll then throw to the wolves. Such an outcome may lead to even greater disaster, but this administration long ago squandered the credibility needed to make the difficult case that more human and financial resources might prevent Iraq from continuing its descent into civil war and its devolution into jihad central.

Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

Source:  NY Times.


 

Haigler defends Sheehan from sexist blog as Cindy responds to shooting

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Sheehan with media after shootingThe following editorial appears at Blogger News Network, and my critique follows below, concerning Cindy Sheehan, shown at left, speaking to the media after a nearby land owner fired off his shotgun in the air during an interfaith prayer service at Sheehan's camp near Crawford, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005.

Sheehan came over to try and talk to the land owner who did not accept her offer. (AP Photo/LM Otero) :



Cindy Sheehan's Iraq War Protest: A Woman Scorned

Editorial by Balletshooz

It was once said that: "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned". Everyone has seen the truth in this concept, and it has proven its relevance throughout history where at crucial moments an angry, frustrated woman, in a moment of outrage and civil disobedience, can do more to change a society than hundreds of thousands of infantrymen carrying machine guns going house-to-house.

Cindy Sheehan

The mother of fallen U.S. soldier Casey Sheehan, who last week started a quiet, roadside peace vigil near President Bush's sprawling ranch is drawing supporters from across the world, and has attracted the attention of the nation as many sympathize with her agony at the death of her son, and feel her frustration at the dismissive scorn of President Bush.

Hundreds of people have joined her, and others have sent flowers, food, and supplies. Cindy Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., said she was surprised at the response. Though a few residents have complained about the protesters, "no one has been arrested because the group has been on the public right of way", said Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.

Casey Sheehan was killed in April 2004 in Sadr City, only five days after he arrived. Since her son died, Casey's mother has come to realize, and various government and independent commission reports have confirmed, that the Bush administration's contention that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was false --a contention that was the main justification for the invasion of Iraq and the main purpose by which her son was supposed to have laid down his life.

Wednesday, a coalition of anti-war groups in Washington called on Bush to meet directly with Sheehan, who they say has helped to unify the peace movement. "Cindy Sheehan has become the Rosa Parks of the antiwar movement," said the Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus. "She's tired, fed up, and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her."

Though she does not expect Bush to meet with her, she said that if he did, she would ask him whether he has encouraged his twin daughters to enlist. "I want him to quit using my son's death to justify more killing," she said. "The only way he can honor my son's death is to bring the troops home." And she vows to keep camping near Bush's sprawling vacation ranch his entire, lengthy summer vacation and to follow him back to the White House, if necessary.

Other Women Scorned

Rosa Parks was the spark that ignited the civil rights movement because the African-American woman refused the request of several white men to move to the back of the bus. She had no agenda of her own other than to lash back at the injustice inflicted upon her in the only way she could. Her ability to summon her inner strength at a crucial moment, even in the face of the seemingly insurmountable white establishment, united the country behind her cause.

Two decades ago In Argentina, as a right-wing military dictatorship purged the country of its left-wing critics. Their mothers began to search for their "disappeared" sons and daughters. As the government stonewalled and covered up the political assassinations, a small group of the mothers began protesting in "May Plaza" holding signs with pictures of their sons - hoping that someone would take notice.

They carried signs around their necks with photos of their missing children. At first only a few mothers marched one day per week. The only people who knew about them were those who passed them by in May Plaza in the center of Buenos Aires. The largely ambivalent public ignored them for a long time.

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when or why people began to pay attention to the Mother's of May Plaza. Perhaps people's innate distaste for injustice overrode the indifference of the elitist supporters of the junta and the ambivalent upper classes who held sway. As the number of mothers grew, so did their sympathizers, and so did the media coverage that brought their message beyond May Plaza.

The "May Plaza Mothers", through their persistence, exposed the terrorist war that the Argentine junta waged against its own people, and they helped toppled the right-wing dictatorship.

Similar is the plight of Cindy Sheehan as she camps out in a ditch near Bush's Crawford vacation ranch and her struggle is no less important than the struggle of Rosa Parks or the May Plaza mothers. Cindy Sheehan, at her protest camp in Crawford, has tapped into the same universal truth that was uncovered by Rosa Parks and the May Plaza Mothers, because just as racial injustice and political killings are wrong, the pre-emptive war doctrine is wrong for this country. For reasons that become more and more obvious to many as every day passes and as more soldiers die, our foreign policy needs a course correction. Cindy Sheehan is an ongoing testament to that fact and an ongoing problem for George Bush and the supporters of his foreign policy.

Mrs. Sheehan is only the first person to capture national attention protesting our current foreign policy. Others will have to follow if there is any hope to make sense of what most Americans now consider to be the reckless foreign policy decisions of the Republican, neo-conservative administration. The president may continue to ignore Cindy Sheehan as he does most of his other problems and ethical lapses. The Secret Service may even arrest her as a threat to national security, as several blogs have rumored. But there will be more Cindy Sheehans. And -- just as in Alabama and Argentina -- a woman scorned cannot be suppressed.

Anatomy of a Right Wing Smear

The scorned woman does not always act out of a rational state of mind, and the right-wing media misunderstands this fact. There was no reason for middle-aged Rosa Parks to refuse to move to the back of the bus at the moment she did. It just happened. She was likely to have ridden in the back of the bus her whole life and never made a sound about it.

Perhaps Hannity would have accused Rosa Parks of flip-flopping because she used to sit in the back of the bus. Perhaps Drudge would have found three "in-laws, twice removed" of Rosa's second cousin to say that Rosa doesn’t speak for them. Perhaps Limbaugh would have claimed to speak for the entire Parks family, and especially her children, to say that they were so embarrassed by their mother who was making a public spectacle of herself.

Perhaps O'Reilly would have stated with a serious face:

"To question the government of Alabama and implicitly the entire United States government by defying the political order like this has to be considered treasonous. Civil disobedience is a code word for I hate America. These people are criminals, simple criminals. It's ridiculous that they think they don't have to live by the same rules as the rest of us."

Such a reaction would have been just as inappropriate then as it is now.


By Balletshooz

Cross-Posted at BNN and RAFC.org


Dave Haigler's critique:

An otherwise excellent article, but I think the theme of women scorned is sexist and detracts from the force of the article.

Women are no less than men able to respond to injustice, and men, no less than women, are entitled to be less than rational when responding to injustice.

It would seem to me that the common emotion in reacting to injustice is anger, whether the responder is a woman or man.

Having met Cindy at Camp Casey on Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, Tx, I would say she does not strike me as a "scorned woman" at all. She was very peaceful and not reacting out of any perceivable malice.

-Dave Haigler, Taylor County Democratic Chair
Abilene, Texas
editor,
http://demlog.blogspot
(a place where there are many defenses of Cindy Sheehan and stories about her)


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